Bernie Ecclestone is applying more pressure to the Silverstone circuit by revealing that he is in talks with Donington Park to host future F1 races in Britain.
Ecclestone has long criticised Silverstone and has been trying to persuade the owners of the circuit, the BRDC, to upgrade the track s facilities. In recent months, he has threatened to axe the British Grand Prix completely if his demands over the state of the circuit are not met.
However British newspaper The Times has revealed that Ecclestone is looking to safeguard the future of the British Grand Prix by talking to Donington Park management as he believes they have a better chance of coming up with the £11 million annual fee and the large investments required to run the race than Silverstone does.
“We are discussing the possibility of reaching an agreement with Donington to host the British Grand Prix,â€ Ecclestone explained. “We are trying to save the British Grand Prix and we want it to be staged at a venue which befits an even of it s stature. I have been in negotiations for a long time and whether or not we are going to do a deal with Donington or Silverstone, I don t know.
“Donington have said they are going to build everything we want. Have they got the money? Only time will tell. But I think there is more chance of Donington having the money than the BRDC.â€
If Donington wishes to take over from Silverstone to host the British Grand Prix, track organisers will have a mammoth task on their hands. The track potentially needs lengthening, and a new pit, paddock area and media complex would have to be built, along with additional grandstands. The total bill for kitting the circuit out to a high enough standard to host an F1 race is likely to cost in the order of tens of millions of pounds.
In recent times, Donington has held a variety of races from MotoGP to the British Touring Car Championship and British Superbikes. It also has some F1 connections having staged the 1993 European Grand Prix.